PR / Science

Bringing in PR agencies to promote STEM subjects

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“There are no jobs in the UK. Why is my country of residence hiring people from abroad?”

What you choose to study in school will have a direct impact on the career path you ultimately embark on. At the end of 2012, a report by The Royal Academy of Engineering revealed that the UK needs 100,000 science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) graduates each year. An increase of STEM graduates by 50% is currently needed as the UK is positioned eighth in the international innovation league table. So when countries like India and China are producing far more engineering graduates, it’s not surprising that UK businesses look to hire those individuals from abroad.

Very recently, the CBI and Pearson UK also found from its Education and Skills Survey that those jobs which required STEM skills were at risk because there is a shortage in skilled workers. It conveys how the jobs are there, but people living in the UK have not got the skill set. There are also fewer women in the IT and telecom sector as well which needs to be tackled.

So how do we go about raising the importance of STEM skills and getting youngsters to take an active interest in these traditional subjects? These are subjects that are highly invaluable and provide transferable skills that will prove to be useful in any working sector. The best way to get children to pick these subjects for GCSEs is to make it fun. There’s always the stereotypical notion that doing the ‘geeky subjects’ means having no social life or being bogged down in books.  You only need to get children to be actively involved in events and activities, for them to start considering something.

So the publication in PR Week of agencies vying to win the brief for the Big Bang fair event is fantastic news and is a great step to get young people to consider the STEM subjects. The organisers have decided to get PR agencies to help them. It will be interesting to see who wins the £180,000 brief to promote the event to be held at NEC Birmingham in March 2014. Consolidated PR handled the PR this year with a whopping 65,000 people attending the four day show. Whoever takes over, will need to surpass that figure and do more.

The target audience is young people aged seven to 19 which I think is great because it covers individuals exploring science and those who are looking to finally take the plunge of studying STEM subjects at university. In addition, getting parents, teachers and career professionals involved is important too as they have a responsibility to help young people make the right decision. The most important element is getting key stakeholders involved such as MPS and ministers in the government. Ultimately, the Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove will be crucial in making the Big Bang fair event a success. Hopefully, the role of PR here will provide a step in the right direction to churn out more graduates qualified in STEM subjects for the future.

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